I have been thinking a lot about all the things that I want to do around the homestead. Some of them fast little additions, while others will be massive undertakings. Homesteading is not for the lazy. Even with solid daily effort, there always seems to be two more things that I need to do on top of the handful of things I want to do. I am thankful I have a passion for doing these things and hold value in learning the skills necessary to be more self sufficient. I have even occasionally been accused of getting excessive and obsessive about projects and goals in the past, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how that fire is managed.
Personally, I am trying to find a reasonable balance between maintaining what I have, and adding to the mix all the other things that I want to get done. I know that as I get older, I find myself getting more enjoyment out of the things that I like doing compared to the enjoyment I get out of owning things I would like to have. I’m not ripe yet, but am old enough to start valuing my time as my most precious commodity. I am also working on patience. Slowing things down enough to enjoy the day. I have already scaled back my professional life to a 40ish hour a week, non ladder climbing career. It was a few years before I planned , but it was hard to pass up the opportunity to work in town, Monday through Friday. This gave me more time to do what I wanted, and to be happier now. It is because of this that I actually have some spare time to manage. It is a beautiful thing.
Being a big part of the building process of our family homestead has meant so much to me. There is something “real” in the feeling of accomplishment after we work together doing stuff like wrangling together a duck pen, that by all accounts , probably doesn’t have a perfectly hammered nail in it, but we did it. Anyone looking really close around the homestead might see a few angled fence posts, leaning fruit trees, or bent nails, each one with it’s own story. A story of me and my family working together to build something even more special than a homestead….. a family bond. That doesn’t sound as “manly” as it makes me feel I am sure, but letting the kids have a hand at the hard stuff not only teaches them, but makes them a part of this place. There is no doubt that it would be hard to get as much accomplished without the older kids. The younger ones, well sure, it might take twice as long with the “help” of a 3 year old on the tape measure, or answering the questions of a second grader, but hopefully that experience will stay with them and come back when they most need it, or maybe the memory will come back to inspire me when I most need it. I would not want to give that up, at any cost, and certainly don’t want to pay someone to rob me of those experiences…..even if it might make things appear better from the road. On second thought, you can’t even see my house from the road….I love living in the woods! Having a big family, and working to create this way of life is not all roses, but were trying to develop an appreciation for the thorns too, if you know what I mean.
This blog is important to me for reasons I have already listed on the “About The Revolution” page, but it also helps remind me what is really important and to what end I do the things I do. Writing about the ups and downs of daily life on our small country place really helps me to appreciate the accomplishments AND failures that we are now a part of. It’s for all those reasons I think the time used documenting our adventure is well spent. It is easy to dreamily surf the net getting ideas for things that I want to do, and adding to my Amazon wishlist all the things I want to buy. When making decisions nowadays, I try and calculate my time as the most critical factor. While money is definitely needed, if I have to give up so many hours of my life to earn it that it becomes necessary to outsource the building of my homestead to others, then what formula is used to calculate the lost experiences. I am a realist though, and understand that there are times when bartering my services for others is not only smart business, but also mentally sound logic. For instance, I hate to paint. I will gladly go to my job and earn money to hire a painter, thus saving me the anguish and potential future apologies that would be necessary. I know the experience would not likely be located in the “happy times” part of my brain. I did paint the house, with the help of my In-Laws, for my wife…or did I. It seems those memories are foggy. My mind is probably trying to block it out.
I have had the determination to try things that might seem beyond my reach, but I’m usually smart enough to know when I should tap out. Almost always I am glad that I tried, and nowadays, rarely come out the other side not having learned something about self sufficiency, myself, or those closest to me. Working full time while starting and running a small homestead takes some time management, but is definitely worth it, you just have to pick and chose projects wisely. I will post soon on our game plan for this year, including our goals for 2013.